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Daily Luther: Fine Easter Preachers but Very Poor Pentecost Preachers

May 1st, 2012
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That is what my Antinomians, too, are doing today, who are preaching beautifully and (as I cannot but think) with real sincerity about Christ’s grace, about the forgiveness of sin and whatever else can be said about the doctrine of redemption. But they flee as if it were the very devil the consequence that they should tell the people about the third article, of sanctification, that is, of new life in Christ. They think one should not frighten or trouble the people, but rather always preach comfortingly about grace and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, and under no circumstance use these or similar words, “Listen! You want to be a Christian and at the same time remain an adulterer, a whoremonger, a drunken swine, arrogant, covetous, a usurer, envious, vindictive, malicious, etc.!” Instead they say, “Listen! Though you are an adultery, a wordmonger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all! . . . They may be fine Easter preachers, but they are very poor Pentecost preachers, for they do not preach… “about the sanctification by the Holy Spirit,” but solely about the redemption of Jesus Christ, although Christ (whom they extol so highly, and rightly so) is Christ, that is, He has purchased redemption from sin and death so that the Holy Spirit might transform us out of the old Adam into new men . . . Christ did not earn only gratia, grace, for us, but also donum, “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” so that we might have not only forgiveness of, but also cessation of, sin. Now he who does not abstain fro sin, but persists in his evil life, must have a different Christ, that of the Antinomians; the real Christ is not there, even if all the angels would cry, “Christ! Christ!” He must be damned with this, his new Christ.

(Martin Luther, On the Council and the Church, Luther’s Works, 41:113-114).

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  1. Pastor Bobby Niemtschk
    May 1st, 2012 at 09:47 | #1

    Pastor McCain,
    Thank you for your exhortations toward sanctification.

  2. Jonathan Trost
    May 1st, 2012 at 13:50 | #2

    Is it purposeful that the words of “The Confession of Sins” spoken by the pastor and congreation in TLH at pages 6 and 16 are different?

    The former, unlike the latter, contains an additional petition in these words: “…and by Thy Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of Thee and of Thy will and true obedience to Thy Word, to the end that by Thy grace we may come to everlasting life;…”

    Is not this additional petition a prayer for Sanctification, which enables an increase in “true obedience to Thy Word”?

    If, in the Confession at p.6 there is a petition for Sanctification, why would pastors avoid preaching about it and its relationship to obedience?

    Sorry for all the questions! (But, then, it’s all about catechesis, right?) Thanks.

  3. Jonathan Trost
    May 1st, 2012 at 14:46 | #3

    Moreover, are not the words of The Offertory (“Create in me a clean heart,…”) themselves ones petitioning for sanctification? And, inasmuch as they immediately follow the sermon, isn’t sanctification a good topic for the sermon, from time to time?

  4. May 2nd, 2012 at 07:33 | #4

    Some Christians believe that the word “repentance” simply means saying your sorry. But in actuality, it means to turn away from sin and cease sinning. And with the help of the Lord, it can be done.

  5. Deb Hesse
    May 2nd, 2012 at 12:31 | #5

    @Tim Strang
    ” … cease sinning … with the help of the Lord, it can be done.”
    Tim — if you think that this side of eternity you can *stop sinning,* even with the “help” of the Lord (which means you are doing the work and He is just helping), then you are a better man than I. (LOL) Repentance means to be turned — He turns us — it’s when we realize we are sinners. It is not knowledge we came to on our own, but it is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. All in all, there is not much we can actually *do* but keep ourself in a place where the Word is so we can hear it and have our faith strengthened by it.
    I realize M.Luther himself said (above) that we would have forgiveness and “cessation of sin,” but he certainly couldn’t have meant we would be free of sin, but that we are free of those “obvious” and intentional sins as he listed there. And actually, I don’t know of anyone, even “good Christians,” who are free of many of those either.

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